Sheffield Utd 1-0 Newcastle: BRUCE OUT – Excruciatingly bad, yet entirely predictable

Bruce out.

We’ve seen some rubbish since Steve Bruce took charge, but this is a new low for his Newcastle United, with us allowing a previously winless Sheffield United side to play us off the park in a well deserved victory for the Blades.

Yes, we went down to 10 men via two idiotic tackles from Ryan Fraser in the final three minutes of the first half, but we set up so negatively, sat too deep, were passive throughout and took until the 83rd minute to get our first shot on target.

We looked lost all over the pitch and a side that had zero faith in the man that had essentially sent them out to ‘try not to lose’ against a bottom of the table Sheffield United who’d drawn two and lost 15 of their 17 league games before today. Is it any wonder we looked flat from the off when THIS was our plan?

An embarrassing display and perhaps one of the most negative and unacceptably poor approaches to a game I’ve seen from the team I used to adore watching every week. Not now.

That’s now no wins in our last EIGHT in all competitions and TEN hours of football since we last scored a goal from open play, with us also having a woeful 33% of the ball in this one. The results also means third bottom Fulham (who sit 8 behind us at present) now have TWO games in hand on us.

Before the game, most on social media were absolutely bewildered by Bruce’s negative-looking line up before kick iff – and with very good reason. If five in defence wasn’t bad enough against the league’s bottom side who’d scored 8 in 17 games this season, it was even more alarming to see Dummett at left wing-back, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff and Hayden in midfield and Fraser the only attacking player in the side capable of creating for Callum Wilson.

Why was Matty dropped? Why stick with a back five against a side who have been there for the taking all season? Why set up against a winless team as if we’re travelling to Anfield hoping to steal a point? It was beyond grim, and Bruce got what he deserved in the end.

The game kicked off and it was an unsurprisingly scrappy affair over the opening 10 minutes. Lots of long balls, several sloppy passes and neither side able to take control of the game.

It was difficult to know who was playing where, with Longstaff and Fraser regularly swapping sides and Hendrick playing down the middle. One thing was quite clear, mind….Wilson was isolated as ever.

Then to the first few chances of the game, which both fell to men in red and white. First it was McGoldrick who got in behind an AWOL Fernandez and fired too close to Darlow, then Lundstram skied a shot high and wide after finding space in the box seconds later.

The Blades were getting too much joy down Yedlin’s side and were well on top now. We looked lost, passive, were sat far too deep and struggled to string more than two passes together in their half as a result. It was a truly turgid start that was reflective of Bruce’s unbearably negative set up.

Wilson then had a rare touch in the final third and should’ve done better, with Fernandez’s fizzing cross headed wide by the usually reliable striker. It came at him quickly, however he’ll be annoyed to have missed.

Usual service was resumed moments later. First off, we gave them too much time to cross and saw McGoldrick rise above Dummett at the back post – only to head over. Another Blades attack then followed, but we got away with it via Clark’s brilliant block to deny Burke’s goal-bound strike.

If the opening stages weren’t dull enough, this was becoming quite possibly the most infuriating and shambolic approach I’ve EVER seen from a NUFC side, who should’ve been set up to hurt this winless Sheffield United side – not sit off, sit deep and gift them opening after opening.

One counter attack three Newcastle players (yes, we got THREE in their box!) resulted in Osborn blocking a powerful strike from Hayden, but that was as good as it got…before another wave of Sheffield United chances arrived.

First it was Burke, who was through on goal and likely to score before a flying Fernandez bailed us out with a heroic sliding challenge, then a ball across the box was somehow hooked clear from Dummett before Darlow batted away a Bogle striker after the Sheffield United wing-back was allowed to dance through our defence and into the box.

We’d handed them the confidence they’d never had all season by sitting back and gifting them time, space and far too many chances, however we then shot ourselves in the foot in brainless fashion as Fraser picked up too stupid yellow cards in the space of three minutes to see red.

The half-time whistle went and it was the best moment of the first 45 minutes. We know how bad we can be under Bruce, but this was a new low. Not one shot on target (the SIXTH time we’ve done this in a first half this season…more than anyone else in the league), 38% of the ball, an idiotic red card and incredibly fortunate to be level, with Sheffield United having 10 shots and coming close on countless occasions.

After the break we moved to more of a 4-1-3-1 with Schar screening a back four in front of Fernandez and Clark, however that didn’t stop the hosts creating yet another big chance just a few minutes into the restart as Darlow made himself big to block another big chance for Bogle at the back post.

At this point Sheffield United had 65% of the ball, with them picking up from where they left off just before the break and bringing on a striker for a defender in Rhian Brewster.

We were sitting ducks and had managed just 12% of the ball over the first 10 minutes of the second half. Grim….yet it was about to get even worse.

After just about surviving the constant pressure Sheffield United were putting us under with the man advantage, Fernandez was caught swiping the ball away from Billy Sharp with his hand. The prolonged VAR check was ominous and the referee pointed to the spot after looking at the pitch side monitor.

Sharp stepped up and sent Darlow the wrong way to give the hosts a 1-0 lead to put them just 15 minutes away from their first win of the season. It had been coming and was exactly what both they and we deserved.

Steve Bruce’s response? Bring on Andy Carroll and hope hoof-ball to the big man could save his bacon this time around.

Sharp should’ve seen red himself moments later for a cynical and nasty challenge on Schar, but it was somehow ignored by VAR and the original decision of a yellow remained.

Our first shot on target arrived in the 83rd minute via a Wilson header hit straight at Ramsdale, however that was soon followed by a deflected strike from Brewster that came back off the post and into Darlow’s gloves.

The hosts were getting edgy, yet we constantly gave them the breaks in play they needed via a host of needless fouls – several coming from a frustrated Fabian Schar who had clearly lost his head since being seethed down by Sharp.

Six minutes of added time did feature a tame Jacob Murphy free kick hit straight at Ramsdale and a Bogle header that just went wide of his own goal, but the Blades held on for their first win of the season.

We all know Steve Bruce is not a Premier League manager and stealing a living at St James’ Park, but that was a new low even by his poor standards.

He has to go.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

274 thoughts on “Sheffield Utd 1-0 Newcastle: BRUCE OUT – Excruciatingly bad, yet entirely predictable

  1. WBA win, Brighton win and it’s getting a bit less safe. We have a couple of games in hand but they’re about as useful to us as finding out you’ve only got soup in the house and only have a fork to eat it with.

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  2. The Guardian is reporting a survey saying 72% of black people in the UK will not get vaccinated citing historical inequalities in health care as one of the reasons. I would have thought that it would be more important if you thought you wouldnt get proper treatment. They also mentioned scientific experiments. I had not seen that in the UK but I am not surprised. There is the notorious case in the US military where their Drs let 200 black patients with VD go untreated for 30 years so they could monitor the progression of the disease. They gave the soldiers a placebo for all that time so they thought they were getting meds.

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  3. Eric Sykes:
    The Guardian is reporting a survey saying 72% of black people in the UK will not get vaccinated citing historical inequalities in health care as one of the reasons. I would have thought that it would be more important if you thought you wouldnt get proper treatment. They also mentioned scientific experiments. I had not seen that in the UK but I am not surprised. There is the notorious case in the US military where their Drs let 200 black patients with VD go untreated for 30 years so they could monitor the progression of the disease. They gave the soldiers a placebo for all that time so they thought they were getting meds.

    Just nonsense, Eric. If that was the case then 72% of Blake people wouldn’t go the doctors or use the NHS would they for fear of getting stitched up.

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  4. Stuart: they supposedly asked 12,000 people. I am just passing this on, I am not saying it is true.

    Fulham looked so much better than us today even they played a much better team. That win probably gets Frank another week. I think he has top 4 talent in that squad. I wonder how the Chelsea fans will react when he is sacked. They love Mourinho and didnt say much after he was sacked. I think Ancelotti had won the league when he was sacked.

    I watched a lot of Timo Werner at Leipzig and I dont know what Frank has done to him.

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  5. Stuart79:
    WBA win, Brighton win and it’s getting a bit less safe. We have a couple of games in hand but they’re about as useful to us as finding out you’ve only got soup in the house and only have a fork to eat it with.

    Stuart79:
    WBA win, Brighton win and it’s getting a bit less safe. We have a couple of games in hand but they’re about as useful to us as finding out you’ve only got soup in the house and only have a fork to eat it with.

    That is a topper 😮

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  6. Stuart79:
    WBA win, Brighton win and it’s getting a bit less safe. We have a couple of games in hand but they’re about as useful to us as finding out you’ve only got soup in the house and only have a fork to eat it with.

    That’s a topper 😀

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  7. We are halfway through the transfer window. Have we even been seriously linked with a loan deal. We all really know what we need – central midfielder!!!

    Sean Longstaff needs to go out on loan.

    Hendrick has had his chances and has shown nothing.

    It seems most have given up on Shelvey now, but I think he will play at Arsenal.

    What does that leave us with? Matty and Hayden and shoving square pegs in round holes like Almiron in central midfield. Bruce should be concentrating on this rather than going after fans with his histrionics comments and now the players.

    He says he talks to Charnley 2 or 3 times a day. What about? Does he talk to Nickson? We all know what the conversations are, it is to find Joelinton and send him down to Greggs.

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  8. Talking about Hendrick. I would sell him if we could get anything for him. I hadnt really watched him at Burnley but I had seen that he cost Burnley quite a bit for them. I think it was like 12 million. Before he played much for us he was playing in internationals for Ireland. I looked at some of the match reports and Hendrick was the one the fans were most critical of. They were saying stuff likes “brings nothing” and “what is his position”. We are now saying the same things. He needs to improve a lot to win me over.

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  9. I know I am a broken record but Villa and Everton is postponed due to 9 Villa players and 5 staff testing positive. And now they have rescheduled our game against Villa. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing as some players may still be fatigued but also is it safe? I dont know anymore, and I did think a pause was necessary, but it seems they are going to plow on regardless. I just hope nobody dies because if that happens there will be a lot of questions asked.

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  10. I totally disagree with Jonny Dawson on Joelinton and Sean Longstaff. They are both busted flushes and have not even been Bruced. They were never that good to start with. I am willing to let Longstaff have a loan to see if he is really any good but I think we over estimated him during those few games with Rafa because he is a Geordie. Joelinton is just crap, fullstop. The ball bounces off him and he falls over. His goalscroring record speaks for itself.

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  11. I see the FA and PL are asking players not to celebrate when they score. For the first time we’re well ahead of the curve – we never celebrate. But that’s because we don’t score…

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  12. Eric Sykes:
    I totally disagree with Jonny Dawson on Joelinton and Sean Longstaff. They are both busted flushes and have not even been Bruced. They were never that good to start with. I am willing to let Longstaff have a loan to see if he is really any good but I think we over estimated him during those few games with Rafa because he is a Geordie. Joelinton is just crap, fullstop. The ball bounces off him and he falls over. His goalscroring record speaks for itself.

    Eric, which players do you think have improved under Bruce? Or went backwards? Luke Edwards is Bruce’s biggest cheerleader and last year argued that certain players had improved since Bruce took over from Rafa. Below is my list of improved players:

    1) Darlow
    2) Murphy

    Players gone backwards:

    1) Lascelles
    2) Schar
    3) Almiron
    4) Longstaff
    5) Hayden
    6) Yedlin
    7) Shelvey

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  13. Sorry forgot to add Joelinton in the regression list. I know it’s hard to imagine but he is worse than he was last year. We can also add Hendrick as he can not have been this bad for Burnley. What about Fraser? Was he so bad for Bournemouth?!

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  14. Eric you’re getting a lot right today. 8 men? That’s the way I feel. I just do not understand hendrick getting games. Those three in midfield haven’t an attacking bone in their bodies. Do they or Bruce not have a clue about the game?

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  15. Almiron in particular looks a shadow of the promising prospect that arrived, i noticed that his ever present smile has started to disappear of late too. I don’t think he’s a happy bunny under Bruce and Wilson is starting to cut a frustrated figure too, he needs service and it’s sadly lacking .
    We could do with working on throw ins and corners too.
    We should be keeping someone up ready for when we clear a corner so that it forces the opposition to not throw so many forward for their corners as well, at present they don’t have to worry about us breaking away for the quick counter because they know there is no threat.
    The defenders are there to clear corners, don’t need the whole back line, mf and attack there. 🙄 🙄

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  16. Kimtoon: it is insane. I was saying on here during the Sheffield match that we had all of our players in our box for their corners, including Wilson. Have also talked about the throw-ins because Liverpool have a a throw in coach. Fatty probably wouldnt pay for one but how about getting rid of one of the Steve’s and using his salary. We cetainly wouldnt notice he was gone.

    You dont have to throw all of your players up for our corners either. You need a couple back to watch for the break. That has been a problem for us especially against Leeds and Man U.

    And Yes, corners, our corners! Professional footballers should not hit the first man 90% of the time or send in the Shelvey floater which just invites the keeper to catch it.

    What do these coaches do all day?

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  17. Has Almiron ever been that good?.

    He caught the eye when he first came coz he would pick the ball up and dribble, beating a few players. He’d tear round the pitch Beardsley style – and that’s always great to see as a fan. But was it ever REALLY effective??.

    If you look at his stats throughout his time at Newcastle, there is no real purple period. His workrate & dribbles gets him a ‘well at least he’s trying’ – but he runs with his head down when he’s dribbling and all too often they result in nothing.

    He’s just not effective enough imo. He wasn’t for Rafa & he’s not been for Bruce.

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  18. OK, Spurs had 5 in the box and scored within 5 minutes. This should give us a gauge of Sheffield Utd – whether we gave them confidence or it was Bruce’s tactics.

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  19. I was contrasting Spurs’ approach with ours for corners. They didnt have every single player in the box. They had 2 on the edge to pick up scraps and stop a break. We never do a Pep special either and foul a player as the try to break.

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  20. I think it is called having a plan/playing the odds. Mourinho has one, Bruce never does. When you watch us it is all desperation at set pieces at both ends of the pitch. On our corners we know we get so few that Bruce has them all up and on opposition corners we know if they score we will most likely lose . We are at 1.05 goals per game now. So yes, if the opposition score we are usually looking at a draw at best.

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  21. The goals and points stats are almost exactly the same as we ended last season with. So much for bringing in Lewis, Hendrick, Wilson and Fraser and bring back Gayle and Murphy from loans. That’s more than half the team that has changed. Add in Darlow and we have almost a totally different team. And Bruce says they all have a Rafa hangover and play the Rafa way. How so, if they are not on the pitch?

    There’s also St Max and Krafth who Rafa didnt sign and Matty and even Sean who hardly played under Rafa. I dont think Matty was in the 1st team squad. Oh, and Rafa didnt sign Joelinton either as we all know he didnt rate him.

    Just pointing out the utter crap that Brucie spews.

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  22. With regards Longstaff & Joelinton.

    Joelinton is an enigma. I remember Klopp speaking about him as a key player for us. Maybe in a certain set up or formation he might be?!. I don’t mean a 20 goals a season player, but perhaps he’s a poor mans Firmino. But that’s a very specific way of playing & we don’t have a Salah & Mane to play alongside him so we may never know.
    What I do know is he is not a lone striker, and is a very limited left side forward.

    I think last season was horrible for the lad. It was all on him at such a young age & lack of experience – no support & no back up to give him a break from it. I think it had such a hit to his confidence – it would need such a mental strength to come back from that. But mental strength aside – he’s not a good finisher, so his role in a team is niche.

    Longstaff has nothing to do with Bruce. I think when he broke into the team he was helped a lot by Hayden. Hayden is one of the most underrated players imo.
    But Longstaff came in & played with an energy & determination you’d expect of a local lad playing for his home team club (similar to Lee Clark in a way). His injury was an awful one and came at a really bad time for him (not that there’s a good time). It was a mad 3-4 months for him, going from about to be loaned out, to first team regular and talk of a move to Man Utd.
    It took him a long time to get that energy & fitness back but that determination or tenacity isn’t there at all. He runs around a lot, but with little to no effect. He’s neither a tackling midfielder or a creative one. Whether that is coz he’s scared of another similar injury, who knows – but Sean is the issue with Sean, not Bruce imo.

    Hendrick is another. He runs round a bit, but offers nothing. I really thought he was a good free transfer to get in, but he’s a shell of the player I saw at Burnley. Whether there’s a bit of the Michael Owens about him – in that, he’s at Newcastle because his preferred option didn’t come off – who knows. But he’s not completing the passes he should be, he’s not making the runs he should be & he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying his football.
    He gets hammer from the Irish fans too, so it’s not just NUFC – maybe he has personal stuff going on.
    But he started well against WHU and defo hasn’t maintained or built on that.

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  23. kimtoon:
    Sheff utd coming back down to earth
    0.2 to spurs at the mo

    Coz they are playing a team trying to win the game, that’s why!!!

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  24. Sharpy, re Almiron, all fair points tbf, but if Bruce were anything of a coach he’d be addressing all those points and getting the best out of him. The lad was excellent in the States, i know it’s the PL, but we still play the same game.

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  25. Sharpy17:
    Has Almiron ever been that good?.

    He caught the eye when he first came coz he would pick the ball up and dribble, beating a few players.He’d tear round the pitch Beardsley style – and that’s always great to see as a fan.But was it ever REALLY effective??.

    If you look at his stats throughout his time at Newcastle, there is no real purple period.His workrate & dribbles gets him a ‘well at least he’s trying’ – but he runs with his head down when he’s dribbling and all too often they result in nothing.

    He’s just not effective enough imo.He wasn’t for Rafa & he’s not been for Bruce.

    He was excellent towards the end with Rafa in a good three with Rondon and Perez. People were talking about them being the best from three out of the top 6 at the time.

    But on a more overall note, I don’t believe any attacking players can play well playing the way we do. They spend more time defending and I’ve always said with Almiron he is a player who needs movement and other players around him who want the ball. Every time he gets it he runs into trouble because he’s nobody to pass to. Annoying! Same for ASM

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  26. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, re Almiron, all fair points tbf, but if Bruce were anything of a coach he’d be addressing all those points and getting the best out of him. The lad was excellent in the States, i know it’s the PL, but we still play the same game.

    Kim – but that’s my point – Rafa couldn’t get the best out of him either.
    Yes he was on fire in America but it’s a totally different league. Look at Thauvin in France – he wasn’t doing that in the PL. Luuk De Jong was smashing them in in Holland – got nowhere near in the PL.

    If he played with his head up more and saw and made some more passes, it could be a different stories. He’s the type of player we are crying out for at the moment – if he got his head up. But he didn’t for Rafa & he’s not for Bruce.

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  27. Sharpy, I mentioned Hendrick and the Irish fans the other day. Before he played for us he had a couple of internationals and I think The Mag had some quotes from their fans. Apart from saying he was useless they said “what does he bring” and “what is his position”.

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  28. Roy Keane has just described Sheffield United as the worst team to have played in the PL – THE WORST TEAM … hope his mate Brucey is watching 🙄

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  29. Sheffield have to get the next goal or I can see this being 4 nil. Hard with no strikers though. Just makes you think about the respect Bruce gave them. That game annoys me more by the day.

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  30. Sharpy: is it Keane, Souness, Carragher and Neville for the Liverpool/Man U game? Should be some unbiased analysis there. We have Dany Fcn Higgenbotham and Arlo White. These are my 2 least liked pundits/commentators but at least they arent Carra – that voice, arrrhhh.

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  31. Stuart79: He was excellent towards the end with Rafa in a good three with Rondon and Perez. People were talking about them being the best from three out of the top 6 at the time.

    But on a more overall note, I don’t believe any attacking players can play well playing the way we do. They spend more time defending and I’ve always said with Almiron he is a player who needs movement and other players around him who want the ball. Every time he gets it he runs into trouble because he’s nobody to pass to. Annoying! Same for ASM

    Stu – I think that period was his most effective time so far with us, but I wouldn’t call it a purple patch.
    He couldn’t hit a barn door, and I’d have to check his assists stats, but I’m not sure they were great.
    But he had Hayden & Longstaff playing out their skin behind him, Ritchie & Yedlin were pretty effective as wing backs & he had Perez playing for a move away & Rondon making the most of first team football to get his move too.

    I’m not taking anything away from him coz he knew his role then & did it pretty well.

    I think similarly to Joelinton, a lot was expected of him last season as our main/only creative player & he didn’t really do it.

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  32. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: is it Keane, Souness, Carragher and Neville for the Liverpool/Man U game? Should be some unbiased analysis there. We have Dany Fcn Higgenbotham and Arlo White. These are my 2 least liked pundits/commentators but at least they arent Carra – that voice, arrrhhh.

    Keane & Souness in the Studio mate, can’t remember the 3rd person. They’ll have Carra & Neville in the Gantry I reckon 🙄

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  33. Why do Spurs do this???.

    I watched them smash Man Utd 6-1 and they were brilliant – they steamrollered through them.
    Since that game, as soon as they get ahead now, they sit in and let teams come at them – it’s crazy.

    Great finish that though 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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  34. Sharpy17: Kim – but that’s my point – Rafa couldn’t get the best out of him either.
    Yes he was on fire in America but it’s a totally different league.Look at Thauvin in France – he wasn’t doing that in the PL.Luuk De Jong was smashing them in in Holland – got nowhere near in the PL.

    If he played with his head up more and saw and made some more passes, it could be a different stories.He’s the type of player we are crying out for at the moment – if he got his head up.But he didn’t for Rafa & he’s not for Bruce.

    Well he’d need someone to pass too lol

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  35. Kim – there is that, but I’ve also seen players show frustration towards him for not releasing the ball sooner or making that pass if he’d have just looked up.

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  36. We are an unbalanced team, although that is not an excuse for Bruce.

    Attack: Loads of pace with Wilson, St Max, Fraser, Murphy, Miggy.

    Midfield: absolutely no pace at all. Must be the slowest in the league.

    Defense: a mixture with slow centre backs but some pace on the wings if we play Yedlin and Lewis. But they are not good defenders. If we play our good defenders – Dummett and Manquillo – then we probably have the slowest defense in the league.

    I am going to say it again, we are crying out for pace in midfield to link up defense and attack, but moreover to make up for/hide the lack of pace of Shelvey/Matty/Hayden.

    I have given up on Sean and Hendrick and along with Joelinton never want to see them in a B&W shirt again.

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  37. Looks like Wijnaldum is off to Barcelona. Weird career path that – relegation with us, winning the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool and now playing with Messi at Barca.

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  38. Lass over the road has recently gotten into baking, get lots of cakes from her now. Lemon cake today and boy is it good.
    Nice end to a crap week.

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  39. Eric Sykes:
    Have Man U and Liverpool been watching our games? This is bl00dy boring. 15 mins to go.

    Was crap Eric, they gave it the big build up and it was boring as hell.

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  40. I’m about as excited for tonight’s game as a turkey is who’s seen Bernard Matthew’s starting at it.

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